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The Official Site of the Vancouver Canucks

Press Round-Up Apr.27.2007

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
Courtesy of Daniel Fung


Vigneault needs to dig deep to motivate team

He seems to have the Midas touch this season as far as pushing the right buttons with his hockey club, but Canucks coach Alain Vigneault is going to have to go to the well once again tonight and find a way to motivate his team to a Game 2 victory, or else the series could be a short one.

"Rarely has [Vigneault] made a mistake in this area, where an error in judgment could cause Vigneault not only to lose a game, but lose his team," writes Iain MacIntyre. "He criticized goalie Roberto Luongo in November, redrew his power play in December, benched almost everyone at some point and - after last Saturday's desultory no-show in Dallas for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup playoffs' first round - publicly questioned the leadership and character of his veterans. Each of these calculated moves, and numerous others, caused a surge in performance by his team or individual players."

Canucks coach Vigneault downplayed his role and insists all he wants is for his troops to come out and play their best game of the season feeling if they do that, they have a good chance to win.

"All I've done is what all coaches need to do at one point or another, and that's to make adjustments," Vigneault said of his button-pushing. "Right now, all that needs to be done as far as us as a group ... we need to put our best game on the table. Starting with our goaltender and going out, can each and every individual play better? Yes, we can. If we do that, I like our chances. Yes, they're a good team. But if you put your best game on the table, and with the goalie we have, our chances are good."

Lineups for Game 2

Expect both Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa to miss tonight's game with the "flu" reports Iain MacIntyre. Salo skated on Thursday while Bieksa skipped the session. When questioned about why the Anaheim press box announced Salo's injury as a torso injury, Salo quipped, "While I was having the flu, I developed a torso injury. But the blood work came back this morning and the flu's gone, so that's a good thing."

Rory Fitzpatrick and Alexander Edler will remain in the lineup for Game 2. Also, the speedy Dane Jannik Hansen is expected to draw back into the lineup replacing Nathan Smith.

Ice issues

If the Ducks had problems getting into full gear on the poor ice in Anaheim in Game 1, it's scary to imagine what they could do under better ice conditions, writes Cam Cole.

"Our ice has pretty much been the sale all year, maybe a little worst last game because of the temperature [in the mid-20s outdoors]," said Ducks speedster Andy McDonald. "You just have to be aware of it, and not stickhandle too much late in the period because the puck's bouncing around then."


No excuses

Winning this series against the Ducks might just be icing on the cake, writes Ben Kuzma. This season, the Canucks won their division, exorcised a Game 7 home-ice ghost, and won the hearts of their harshest critics. Now, entering Game 2 stacked with injuries, nobody would blame the Canucks if they used those excuses as crutches; nobody except the Canucks themselves.

"That's the easy way out," said Canucks centre Brendan Morrison. "We could sit here and say we're missing two of our better D-men [Sami Salo, Kevin Bieksa]. But to be honest with you, I haven't heard that from one guy - not even a mention of it - even with the lineup we're dressing now. We believe we can win."

Burrows will continue to be a thorn in Selanne's paw

Don't expect Alex Burrows to back down from Teemu Selanne, writes Ben Kuzma. The two were engaged in a number of battles during Game 1 and Burrows knows it's his job to get Anaheim's top starts off their game.

"After the whistle, if I can get under their skin and get them in the box - Teemu went twice against me - then it's a plus for our team," said Burrows.

Even the Ducks players were impressed by the agitating Burrows.

"We make a point of trying not to get upset at things he does, but it's more easier said than done," Ducks centre Andy McDonald said Thursday. "He's good at this job."

New son lends Giguere a fresh perspective

You could forgive Ducks netminder Jean-Sebastian Giguere if hockey was the farthest thing on his mind on the eve of the playoffs, writes Tony Gallagher. It was around this time that Giguere and wife Kristen had learned their new son Maxime emerged from the womb with an under-developed right eye and the chances are he may never see from out of that eye.

The news got worst for the Gigueres when they learned Maxime might not be able to see out of his left eye either, and it was here when the Ducks organization stepped up in a big way to help out one of their own.

"With the help of the [owners Henry and Susan Samueli] Samuelis we were able to get in to see the best doctors in the world in six days at UCLA and at that time they determined that his left eye was just trauma from the birth and that he would have his sight in his left eye and then we felt much better and said, well, I guess things could be worse.'", said Giguere. "[The Ducks organization] couldn't do enough for us. Brian [Burke] took me aside and specifically told me not to worry about the games, and the owners were using their connections to get the best doctors quickly, and my teammates were constantly messaging me, telling me they and their families were praying for us."


Ducks aren't taking Luongo lightly

Unlike any other team in the National Hockey League, the Ducks seem to have a secret to solving Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo. They pumped four goals past the Canucks netminder before he gave way to Dany Sabourin in Game 1. In four games played against the Ducks this season, including three regular season games and Game 1 of the Western Conference Semi-Final, Luongo has a 4.08 GAA against Anaheim. The Ducks however, know they can expect Louie' to be much better as the series progresses.

"He's an elite goaltender," said the Ducks' Andy McDonald, who recorded his first career hat trick in Game 1. "I think he's going to shrug it off and respond and be even better in Game 2. It doesn't matter. Game 1 is over."


Ducks goaltenders poster boys for team first attitude

Despite being loaded with top-end talent that wouldn't look out of place as the roster for an All-Star team, the Ducks feel their greatest strength lies not in each individual player but the strength of their team together, writes Dan Wood.

"That's probably one of our biggest strengths," right wing and assistant captain Rob Niedermayer said. "I've been on a lot of teams where some guys didn't really like the roles they were put into. It can be a big distraction and take away from the team."

Perhaps nowhere has this been more evident than between the two Anaheim goaltenders, J.S. Giguere and Ilya Bryzgalov, both of whom saw starting duties during last year's playoffs and both of whom have suited up so far in this year's playoff run for the Ducks.

"Giguere, winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff most valuable player in 2003, when the Ducks reached the Stanley Cup Finals, took a back seat to Bryzgalov in last season's playoffs because of injury," writes Wood. "A similar situation developed earlier this month when Giguere's newborn son, Maxime, had some medical issues. On neither occasion did Giguere whine or pout.

"Now that Coach Randy Carlyle has called on Giguere for the Game 5, first-round clincher against the Minnesota Wild and Wednesday's series-opening, 5-1 triumph over Vancouver, Bryzgalov is reciprocating."

Game 2 is the pivotal game for Ducks

It might not seem like it is the most important game for the Anaheim Ducks in this series, especially considering they currently lead 1-0, but Game 2 has historically been huge in Ducks history, notes Dan Wood.

In every series in Ducks history, the Game 2 winner has gone out to win all 11 playoff series.

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